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Posted by: RSSBOT
03-21-2023, 03:44 PM
Forum: NEWS - RSS
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Entry-level EV to replace Audi A3 to arrive before 2027

Audi RS3 E-tron 2024 front static, Autocar render

Electric entry car will be similar in size to the A3 but has not yet been confirmed to use its name

Due before 2027, the hatchback will get a new platform, advanced tech, fast charging and a range of around 400 miles

An entry-level EV, similar in size to the Audi A3, will be launched in the middle of the decade as the German car maker ramps up its electrification shift.

The A-segment model, confirmed to Autocar by Audi CTO Oliver Hoffman, is part of a plan to get an electric car in each “core” segment by 2027

It is expected to use the Volkswagen Group’s new skateboard-style SSP (Scalable Systems Platform) electric architecture – the same structure that is set to make its debut on the upcoming Volkswagen ID 4 saloon currently being developed under the internal working title Project Trinity – offering a maximum range of more than 400 miles.

“We communicate today that we will offer an A-segment car, under the Q4. [It will be] comparable to the A3,” Hoffman said before the firm’s annual conference. 

He did not confirm if the car would take the A3 nameplate, but it will naturally replace the car, given that Audi will launch only EVs from 2026.

The switch to electric power means standard versions of the A3 replacement will abandon front-wheel drive for the first time since the model’s introduction in 1996. The car, as with the current model it will replace, is expected to spawn more potent variants, such as the S3 and RS3. These are tipped to adopt a twin-motor, four-wheel-drive set-up.

Read more: Audi to launch 20 models by 2025, half of them EVs

As Audi goes EV-only, an electric RS3 will be the entry point into the newly electrified performance line-up. Audi Sport’s transition to an electrified portfolio has kicked off with range-topping variants of the Audi E-tron SUV and Audi E-tron GT saloon, and it is expected to ultimately match the diversity and scope of its current performance range, which comprises highly strung versions of most Audi models.

Instant-torque electric power will enable the ‘RS3 E-tron’ to outpace the current five-cylinder petrol car in a straight line – so expect a sub-3.8sec 0-62mph time, and the innovative torque-vectoring functionality fitted to Audi’s existing fast EVs will no doubt trickle down to upcoming entrants to mimic the combustion car’s dynamic agility. It could also be the first of a new breed, with rivals BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen yet to unwrap electrification plans for their own hottest hatchbacks.

Among the advantages offered by the new SSP architecture over today’s MEB structure are a lower floor height and greater modularity for increased differentiation between models.

The SSP platform is also designed to support a new 800V electric architecture. This will offer significantly faster charging times than the 400V system of existing MEB-based models and enable speeds of up to 270kW, which is good for an 80-mile top-up in 10 minutes. Audi CEO Markus Duesmann said the SSP architecture will use what he calls a “unified cell format” and offer a range of up to 435 miles. Although the SSP platform is being developed to accept solid-state batteries, they are not planned to be offered on the successor to today's A3.

Autocar has been told that the A3 replacement has been conceived as a five-door hatchback and four-door saloon, both with incremental increases in dimensions. Those privy to early design proposals say Audi designers have taken full advantage of the packaging solutions offered by the dedicated SSP platform, providing the A3 successor with altered proportions, including shorter overhangs, a shorter bonnet line, a longer cabin and larger wheelhouses.

Audi's EV onslaught: What's coming when

2024 Audi Q6 E-tron

5 Audi q6 e tron 2024 static front render

The electric equivalent of the best-selling Audi Q5 crossover will be the first car to be based on the new PPE EV platform that Audi is developing with Porsche and, as such, will be a close technical relation to the upcoming Porsche Macan EV. The flat floor and lack of an engine will make for a much more spacious cabin than that of the Q5 and the new-generation architecture will make it competitive in terms of range, charge times and performance.

2024 Audi A4 E-tron

6 Audi a4 e tron 2024 static front render

Audi will go after the indomitable Tesla Model 3 – and its increasingly popular rivals, the Polestar 2 and BMW i4 – with an electric version of the next-generation A4. To be sold alongside an array of familiar combustion and hybrid options, the A4 E-tron will share its Q6 sibling’s PPE platform but will be styled similarly to its combustion counterpart. Expect a four-wheel-drive RS-badged range-topper, too.

2024 Audi A6 E-tron

7 Audi a6 avant e tron 2024 static front

Closely previewed in concept form – as both a Sportback saloon and an Avant estate – the dramatically styled A6 E-tron won’t immediately replace the current A6 but will serve as a long-legged and promisingly potent zero-emissions equivalent. Audi’s betting big on the continued popularity of the estate car in certain markets, whereas its Mercedes rival has hinted that it could leave the segment entirely.

2024 Audi A8 E-tron

8 Audi grandsphere concept 2021 static front

Described as a “private jet for the road”, this sleek BMW i7 rival – previewed by 2021’s radical Grandsphere concept – will major on autonomous functionality and connectivity. As such, the cabin will be a minimalistic and airy ‘lounge-style’ environment with a drastic reduction in the number of buttons and screens. It will be more of a GT than the current A8, so expect greater focus on straight-line speed and cornering dynamics.

Additional reporting by Greg Kable

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Posted by: RSSBOT
03-21-2023, 01:22 PM
Forum: NEWS - RSS
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Audi Group forecasts operating margin dip after record 2022

audi q4 e tron 2021 front quarter tracking

The Audi Group's operating profit grew from €5.5bn in 2021 to €7.6bn last year

Audi, Bentley, Ducati and Lamborghini set £6.7 billion profit high as average sale values spike

The Audi Group expects its operating margin to dip this year as supply shortages ease and sales volumes begin to rebound.

The group – comprising Audi, Bentley, Ducati and Lamborghini – set a 12.2% margin last year, thanks to an increase in the value per vehicle sold and positive effects from hedging raw materials.

This meant it made a €7.6 billion (£6.7bn) operating profit in 2022, up 37.3% compared with the previous record set the year prior.

However, the Group now predicts this will fall somewhere between 9% and 11% in 2023, coinciding with a rebound in sales volumes as the supply shortage eases.

Audi finance chief Jürgen Rittersberger said: "If we look at 2023, what I can say is that supply situation will improve and has already improved. So from my point of view, we will see a kind of a normalisation this year. 

"But on the other hand, there was or there will be still some disruptions coming from the well-known problems: logistic chains, but also supply chains, especially [for] semiconductors. So I think 2023 is a kind of normalisation but not fully normal."

This mirrors the strategy of the wider Volkswagen Group (the Audi Group's parent company), which forecasts a stabilisation in margins at 7.9%.

This is because the relaxation of the semiconductor crisis is expected to tip the balance back towards buyers by the third quarter of 2023, Volkswagen Group chief financial officer Arno Antlitz said earlier this week. In turn, the competition among manufacturers will heat up.

Read more: Investors worry as Volkswagen prioritises growth over profit

As such, the Audi Group expects its sales to grow from 1.6 million last year to between 1.8 million and 1.9 million in 2023.

This volume increase will be led by Audi. Of the Group’s 1,638,638 deliveries in 2022, just 24,407 did not come from the German brand. 

In turn, high-end siblings Bentley and Lamborghini – which both set record sales volumes in 2022 as the Volkswagen Group used its most profitable brands to reinforce its coffers – may well reduce their delivery targets.

For reference, Bentley sold 11,006 cars in pre-pandemic 2019 but 15,174 last year, while Lamborghini delivered 8205 in 2019 and 9233 in 2022.

This helped both brands to enjoy record years for profitability. Bentley generated €708 million (£623m), almost doubling the €389m (£342m) record it set a year ago, giving it a 20.9% operating margin. Meanwhile, Lamborghini made €614m (£540m), giving it a 25.9% margin.

A spike in the average value of each car sold – the which was the “best in class”, according to Lamborghini CFO Paolo Poma – contributed to this success.

Bentley CFO Jan-Henrik Lafrentz added that the strategy to drive value per car upwards was “very clearly the main driver” and that the British firm was “probably starting to realise the full potential of our Mulliner [personalisation] brand”.

The Audi Group's research and development spend grew by 15.5% year on year to €4.5bn (£4.0bn), owing to the consolidation of Bentley and investments in electrification.

It sold 118,196 electric cars in 2022, a 44% increase compared with 2021, and will expand its portfolio with the Audi Q6 E-tron being unveiled in the second half of 2023.

Audi will detail a new product initative later this year, with 20 new models (half of these being electric) planned to hit the market by 2025.

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Posted by: RSSBOT
03-21-2023, 11:21 AM
Forum: NEWS - RSS
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Investors worry as Volkswagen prioritises growth over profit

Volkswagen ID 3 ID 4 ID 5 family front static

The VW Group is confident it can keep the margins stable and grow volume

Easing of semiconductor shortage means firm is bullish about sales growth over margins

Normality is back, at least as far as the Volkswagen Group is concerned. The German behemoth has advised that it aims to sell a million more cars in 2023 than in the year before but stick roughly to the same profit margin as 2022 at 7.9%. In other words, it will make less money per car sold as the semiconductor crisis eases, supply returns and the competition hots up.

But wait a minute, the financial analysts said to CEO Oliver Blume and finance chief Arno Antlitz on Tuesday’s earnings call: why the big need to go back to pre-Covid volumes of 9.5 million vehicles? Especially when car buyers are feeling the effects of inflation the world over.

“Your outlook sent quite a few shockwaves through the automotive industry,” Tim Rokossa at Deutsche Bank prefaced his question on the earnings call. “Can you explain why you feel a need to grow as much instead of clearly prioritising profit?” Given that the industry has shown it can be profitable at lower volumes, why not continue on that path, Rokossa asked.

The question was repeated again by Harald Hendrikse, autos analyst at banking firm Morgan Stanley. “We unfortunately have a lot of experience of car companies guiding ambitiously on volumes. And as you well know, that hasn’t historically ended incredibly well,” he said. “Why guide to 9.5 [million]. Why not guide a little lower?” The problem with aiming high on volume targets is that you end up discounting to hit them, he added.

The answers from the VW Group’s two top executives showed that the profits reaped by the majority of the industry while supply was constrained might just be a unique moment in time and it was time for some realism.

Semiconductor supply was getting better for all companies, not just Volkswagen, allowing everyone to build more cars. That will tip the balance to a buyer’s market, likely in autumn: “In the third quarter, demand and supply will meet and that will be true for all of the companies. So there will be more competition,” Antlitz warned. But the VW Group is still seeing higher raw material prices. “It is more difficult to pass on these price increases to the customer. This is what we are preparing our teams for,” he said.

On top of that, VW will be returning to lower-margin segments and markets that in 2022 it was forced to bypass to ensure those precious semiconductors and other short-in-supply parts went to the biggest money spinners, as can be seen in record profits for its Bentley, Lamborghini and Porsche marques. “We didn’t ship all the cars and the semis to the less promising regions in terms of margin – for example, Brazil and others,” Antlitz said. “We didn’t offer the entry cars and also different channels.”

But even so, the VW Group is confident it can keep the margins stable and grow volume, despite the fears of the investment community. For one thing, it is sitting on an order bank of almost two million cars as a result of the group struggling to build cars in 2022. “Therefore, it’s very logical for us that we have a strong increase in deliveries in ’23,” Blume argued.

Despite the higher-volume targets and the stiffer competition as factories start ramping up, Blume promised to keep the faith on profit over volume. “It is my position that we drive the company more market-driven than production-driven,” he said.

VW is more bullish about the 2023 global vehicle market bouncing back after a stilted couple of years. Despite IHS Automotive predicting 3% growth from 2022’s total of 69.6 million vehicles, VW believes it can grow its sales by 12%, adding another million. Revenue, it believes, will increase by between 10-15%.

Car markets will grow the world over, VW predicts, despite a “weak” start to China, the company’s biggest market last year with 3.6 million sales. Excluding China, the company had a “decent” start in the first weeks of the year, Antlitz said.

For investors, it was worrying that the VW Group was willing to push for close on 10 million sales. “We consider it a risky bet to run the company based on such expectation because it bears risk of overproduction and overspending,” Patrick Hummel, analyst at UBS bank, wrote in a note to investors. “While 2023 results are likely to be less bad than we initially feared thanks to [order] backlog execution, we still expect a deteriorating pricing and margin trend, and we think VW’s volume brands are not well prepared.”

What VW was signalling, however, was the return to normal competition, and for the group overall conditions more aligned to pre-Covid than post-, albeit with lessons on costs and pricing learnt.

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Posted by: RSSBOT
03-21-2023, 06:17 AM
Forum: NEWS - RSS
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Nearly new buying guide: Ford Fiesta

Ford Fiesta front three quarter

The Fiesta is available with a raft of engines, with outputs from 69bhp to 197bhp

It may be singing its last verse, but this fun-to-drive, do-it-all supermini still has a lot to shout about

The Ford Fiesta is being laid to rest but it’s going out on a high. This final generation of the long and loved line is a peach: great to drive, refined and practical.

It’s also a really good buy as a used car, which is handy because that’s more or less your only way to get one now.

There’s plenty of choice – not just in the sheer numbers on sale but also in the breadth of the model range. Take the engine line-up. The petrols include a 1.1-litre with 69bhp and 84bhp and a turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder Ecoboost in 94bhp, 99bhp, 123bhp and 138bhp states of tune.

There’s also a 1.5-litre diesel with 84bhp or 118bhp, which was withdrawn from sale in 2020. Later models incorporate mild-hybrid technology in 1.0 Ecoboost 125 and 155 versions.

You can even have your seventh-generation Fiesta as a raised-up SUV called the Active, or as an impressively agile 197bhp ST hot hatch.

Trim choices are equally all-encompassing. Entry-level Style models have air-con and electric front windows, while Zetec adds 16in alloy wheels and a heated windscreen. 

You also get an 8.0in touchscreen infotainment system, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, with Zetec and above. Titanium brings cruise control, automatic lights and wipers, and climate control, while B&O Titanium (there’s also a B&O Zetec) has an upgraded 10-speaker 675W sound system.

Titanium X gets the B&O sound system as standard along with heated front seats. ST-Line and ST-Line X gain sportier exterior and interior styling and firmer suspension. 

ST-Line otherwise has the same equipment as Zetec, while ST-Line X is based on Titanium. Top-of-the-range Vignale has leather seats, a panoramic glass roof, rear parking sensors and a reversing camera.

But it’s the way it drives that sets the Fiesta apart. The 1.1 petrols and 1.5 diesels are pleasant enough but the 1.0 Ecoboost is the star. It’s punchy and refined and beguiling in any of its power outputs.

Few superminis are more enjoyable to chuck around on a twisty B-road, too. The steering is precise and well weighted, grip is plentiful and the car has good poise. To top it all off, the ride is beautifully judged, both in town and on motorways, even with the firmer ST-Line models. 

Suspension noise is well suppressed too, giving the Fiesta a sense of solidity and big-car refinement.

Inside, the areas you touch frequently all feel fairly upmarket and the Fiesta uses soft-touch material on parts of its dashboard, although overall it doesn’t feel quite as solidly screwed together as the Seat Ibiza or Volkswagen Polo.

Still, it has plenty of room up front and a widely adjustable driving position. Two people of average height will be comfortable in the rear, but three in the back is more of an option for shorter journeys. Most models have a backrest that folds with a 60/40 split and the reasonably sized boot is relatively easy to access.

Buyer Beware

Diesel filter: The 1.5-litre diesel engine is fitted with a diesel particulate filter, which can clog up if the car is used mostly for short journeys.

Recall issues: Recalls have been issued for potential problems relating to: the steering column on some 2019 Fiestas; the bolts on the rear seatbelt retractors of a small number of 2019 cars; the brake servo on some 2017 examples.

Reliability: In the most recent What Car? Reliability Survey, the Fiesta finished 28th out of 28 cars in the small car class. The fault rate was relatively high, at 31%, and many of the wide-ranging issues reported were serious. These put a third of the afflicted cars out of action for more than a week, and 30% of them couldn’t be driven. On the bright side, 90% of the work was completed for free and none of the bills exceeded £300.

Our top spec

Titanium: Two reasons for picking this trim. One, it comes with goodies such as ambient interior lighting, rear parking sensors, an automatically dimming rear-view mirror and a built-in sat-nav. And two, it’s good value.

Need to know

You’ll need £6000 for an early high-miler and £7000 for average mileage. Spend £8000 or more on 2018 cars, £9500-£12,000 on a 2019 example, £12,000-£15,000 on one from 2020, £13,000-£18,000 on one from 2021 and upwards of that for a 2022 Fiesta.

Both 1.1-litre petrols have 48.7mpg combined WLTP. The 1.0-litre Ecoboost engines span 42.8mpg to 50.4mpg. Of the 1.5 diesels, the 84bhp one averages 60.1mpg and the 118bhp 57.6mpg.

Our pick

1.0 100 Ecoboost: Our favourite is the three-cylinder 999cc engine, and of the four versions on offer we would go for the 99bhp version because it’s fast enough at motorway speeds and is also pretty economical.

Wild card

Fiesta ST: For not too much more outlay, you can get a 197bhp buzz from this super-darty hot hatch. It’s eager and engaging, with a balanced chassis and three-cylinder thrum. Oh, and 0-62mph in 6.6sec.

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Posted by: RSSBOT
03-20-2023, 07:15 PM
Forum: NEWS - RSS
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Volkswagen ID 2all concept previews sub-£22k electric car for 2026

Volkswagen ID2all front three quarter

VW describes the ID2all as being "spacious as a Golf and as inexpensive as a Polo”

Hatch is first to use MEB Entry platform; embraces VW heritage and showcases future design language

The new Volkswagen ID 2all concept previews a new sub-£22,000 electric car set to go on sale in 2026 – and showcases the brand’s new design language, which draws from classic models such as the Volkswagen Beetle, Volkswagen Golf and Volkswagen Polo.

The new Peugeot e-208 and Vauxhall Corsa-e rival will be the first model to use the long-anticipated MEB Entry platform that has been developed by the Volkswagen Group. This will also be used for the production version of the Cupra Urban Rebel concept, a future Skoda crossover and a second Volkswagen model: a compact crossover that will feature more rugged styling inspired by models such as the T-Cross and T-Roc.

The ID 2all will sit under the Volkswagen ID 3 in the firm’s EV line-up, with VW describing it as being “as spacious as a Golf and as inexpensive as a Polo”. The firm said the goal is for the machine to be sold with a starting price of less than €25,000 (£22,000).

Significantly, the ID 2all showcases an entirely new design language that will feature on all of the firm’s future EVs. This is part of a major brand revamp that's intended to, in the words of boss Thomas Schäfer, “make Volkswagen a genuine love brand”.

That philosophy involves the firm embracing its heritage as a key point of difference from new EV rivals, and the ID 2all shows clear influences from the Polo and Golf, with more traditional styling than the ID 3.

Volkswagen previously revealed an ID Life crossover concept that was intended to preview the first MEB Entry model, but that has now been shelved after it received a poor reception.

New design boss Andreas Mindt, who moved across from Bentley in February, has used the ID 2all concept to establish a new design language. Remarkably, Mindt and his team designed the new concept model in just six weeks, and had to work around the already established fixed points of the MEB Entry platform.

The ID 2all is 4050mm long, making it slightly shorter than the current Polo, but its 2600mm wheelbase is significantly longer, allowing for far greater interior space. 

It features a 490-litre boot, with 1330 litres of capacity when the rear seats are folded down.

Notably, the MEB Entry platform is front-wheel-drive, while EVs built on the existing MEB platform offer rear-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive powertrains. The front-mounted motor will produce 223bhp, and the ID 2all has a claimed range of up to 280 miles.

The decision to switch the platform to front-wheel-drive was to maximise the space available for luggage, enabling that large boot.

The platform can accept two battery sizes – 38kWh and 56kWh – each of which use different battery cell technology. While that maximum claimed range of 280 miles is for the 56kWh unit, the entry-level £22,000 ones will feature the smaller battery.

Volkswagen describes the drivetrain, battery and charging technology as “particularly efficient”. While the 38kWh batteries will use lithium-iron-phosphate prismatic cells, the firm has yet to disclose the chemistry of the later unit.

Volkswagen claims the 58kWh battery in the ID 2all will be able to complete a 10-80% charge in around 20 minutes, and will have a maximum charging rate of 125kW.

The car has a top speed of 99mph and a 0-62mph time of less than 7.0sec.

Mindt said Volkswagen is “transferring the DNA of our icons into the future”, adding that the ID 2all is “therefore also an homage to the Beetle, Golf and Polo.” He said it shows how future VWs will build on three design pillars: stability, likeability and excitement.

Classic cues include a C-pillar design intended to evoke the Mk1 Golf, which builds on "a general feature of compact Volkswagen models". Mindt has also reduced the volume above the wheels in order to give the car a more powerful stance on the road.

The revamped front end features a number of "upwardly rising elements", which Mindt said are crucial to give the car “a confident smile” and likeability. He added: “It's important for us that the front of a Volkswagen shows a human expression.”

Mindt said that despite the comparatively low target price, the ID 2all has “high-quality materials” inside to add excitement, highlighting the driving-mode selector switch as an example.

There was also a focus on maximising the interior space: the passenger seat backrest can fold down and the rear seats split 40:60.

There's an extra storage box underneath the boot floor and a lockable 50-litre storage area under the rear bench seats. That area is intended to be used for charging cables and a breakdown kit, while also offering secure storage for valuables.

The interior of the car is described as having a “clear design”, with Volkswagen highlighting that the 12.9in infotainment touchscreen offers a “self-explanatory infotainment system with classic volume control” – an acknowledgement of the much-criticised infotainment and ‘slider’ controls on previous ID models and the Mk8 Golf.

A central panel features a thumb wheel for controlling the infotainment, plus a separate air-conditioning control panel, with the key functions accessed by illuminating buttons.

There are two wireless charging smartphone pads and a new multifunction steering wheel with pared-back controls. There’s also a 10.9in digital cockpit screen, augmented by a head-up display.

Volkswagen said the ID 2all will be offered with some of the advanced assistance systems usually only seen on higher-end models, including Travel Assist and Park Assist, LED matrix headlights, massaging electric seats and a panoramic sunroof.

The production version of the ID 2all will be shown in 2025 before entering production in Spain, alongside the closely related Cupra and Skoda models. 

It will be one of 10 EVs that Volkswagen will launch by 2026, also including the facelifted ID 3, the long-wheelbase Volkswagen ID Buzz, the ID 7 saloon and the compact SUV that will join the ID 2all in using the MEB Entry platform.

Notably, “in spite of all the challenges”, Volkswagen is also working on an EV that will have a starting price of less than €20,000 (£17,600)

Read more: Volkswagen goes 'boring' with ID 2all design – and it's a good thing

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Posted by: RSSBOT
03-20-2023, 01:21 PM
Forum: NEWS - RSS
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New Volkswagen ID 2all concept to be revealed tonight: watch here

Volkswagen id2 GTI render 2023

Redesigned ID 2 is now a 4250mm-long hatch with Golf-level space

Concept car will showcase compact electric model due in 2026 – and the brand's new design language

Volkswagen will reveal a new ID 2all concept tonight that previews a future urban electric compact car set to cost less than £22,500 (€25,000) and showcases the brand's new design language.

The new machine is scheduled to go on sale in around 2026. It is expected to be built on the new MEB Entry version of the revamped MEB-Plus platform that features LFP (lithium-iron-phosphate) prismatic battery cells and charging speeds of up to 200kW, among other developments. 

The ID 2all has been revealed - click here to read the full story, or watch Volkswagen reveal the new EV below: 

Speaking during Volkswagen's annual press conference, brand boss Thomas Schäfer confirmed the concept would be named the ID 2all, building on the event's social media tag – #VWforthepeople – in showing the model's focus at reaching a mass market. 

It is unknown yet if the model will retain the ID 2 tag when it goes into production. Autocar has been told that a number of naming combinations for the production version of the ID 2 have been proposed in internal meetings in recent months, including the ID Golf nomenclature first alluded to by Schäfer in an interview with Autocar in October 2022. 

At the time, Schäfer, who took control of Volkswagen in July after his predecessor, Ralf Brandstätter, was appointed to head up the company’s Chinese operations, said: “The Golf name has huge value. The recognition it receives at [customer] clinics – people absolutely understand what we are talking about. So to change the name to something completely different doesn’t make sense.” 

The initial suggestions were that the Golf name may be reserved for the Volkswagen ID 3 facelift. However, this was denied by Autocar sources, who said “the true value of the Volkswagen Golf lies in a car the size of the ID 2”.

In place of the controversial crossover design previewed by the VW ID Life concept at the 2020 Munich motor show, the heavily revised VW ID 2 is set to receive a more conventional hatchback shape developed by a team of designers under the guidance of Volkswagen’s new design boss, Andreas Mindt. 

The move comes after what has been described to Autocar as a “less than lukewarm” reception to the original crossover design – developed by Mindt’s predecessor, Jozef Kaban – from Schäfer and Volkswagen’s new management team. 

After much internal debate over the original design of the upcoming price-leading EV, Kaban was asked to step aside. He had been Volkswagen’s design boss since 2020 and has now become the firm’s new creative art director. 

The decision to provide the new car with a hatchback shape comes after Cupra revealed that the ID 2’s sibling model, the Urban Rebel, will receive a similar styling treatment. 

The two models are due to be produced at Seat’s Martorell factory near Barcelona as indirect replacements for the Volkswagen Up and Seat Mii. A similarly conceived model from Skoda atop the same architecture is also planned to arrive at a later date. 

Those privy to the early proposals of the redesigned ID 2 say it sits halfway between the existing internal-combustion-engined Volkswagen Polo and Golf in terms of exterior dimensions, with a length put at “around 4250mm”. 

With a relatively short bonnet and flat floor, it is claimed to offer “the sort of interior space of models typically one segment higher”. Strong links to the fourth-generation Golf are made by Volkswagen insiders in reference to the new model. 

One source told Autocar: “We have great tradition and product strength in this segment. It is not a whole new beginning but a logical continuation of what Volkswagen has excelled at in the past, albeit with electric drive.” 

At this early stage, the ID 2 is set to be offered in single-motor, front-wheel-drive form only. However, Volkswagen sources contacted by Autocar confirm the MEB-Plus platform will support dual-motor, four-wheel-drive models and say such a configuration cannot be ruled out in the future. 

“It will be relatively lightweight by electric car standards, somewhere between 1600kg and 1700kg,” Autocar has been told. In a further significant move, Schäfer has also given the nod for a return of the GTI badge. It is set to replace the GTX model name first introduced on the Volkswagen ID 4 in 2020, paving the way for the first fully electric Volkswagen Golf GTI

“The GTX is dead,” a senior source revealed to Autocar. “A decision has already been made to replace it with the traditional GTI name and it is being considered for the ID 2.” 

The combination of front-wheel drive and the GTI name references a lineage that dates back to the original Golf GTI, introduced in 1976. Although a final decision on whether it will be applied to the production version of the ID 2 has not yet been made, suggestions are that a further concept of the new electric model featuring characteristic GTI styling cues could be revealed at the annual Wörthersee GTI fan meet in Austria in May or, alternatively, the ID fan meet in Locarno, Switzerland, in September. 

Cupra’s unveiling of the Urban Rebel in 2022 provides solid clues to the approach Volkswagen is set to take with an electric Golf GTI. Fitted with a front-mounted electric motor, the most powerful version of the new entry-level Cupra model is claimed to deliver 223bhp and achieve 0-62mph in 6.9sec. A similar drivetrain is expected for its Volkswagen sibling model. 

By comparison, today’s petrol Golf GTI is fitted with a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with 245bhp and has a 0-62mph time of 6.2sec. 

Along with its new hatchback bodystyle, the reborn ID 2 also adopts a new-look interior with seating for up to five in a cabin claimed to offer similar space to today’s MQB-platform-based Golf. 

Additional changes centre on the MIB infotainment system. They include the provision for a rotary controller within a heavily revised centre console – a development that will initially appear on the third-generation Volkswagen Tiguan, which is due to be unveiled later this year. 

The rotary controller, a first for a Volkswagen, is intended to supplement the touchscreen controls fitted to current Volkswagen models. It is designed to replace the slider mechanism first introduced on the ID 3 in 2020. 

The sweeping changes made to the ID 2 are part of a “comprehensive reset” for the Volkswagen brand and its ID electric car strategy under Schäfer.

Together with the baby EV’s redesign, the new Volkswagen CEO has also ordered a thorough reworking of the company’s Project Trinity, a new showcase model whose development began under the leadership of Volkswagen’s former CEO, Herbert Diess. 

Schäfer is understood to have had reservations about the Project Trinity’s liftback-style saloon design and Volkswagen designers are now working to establish it as a crossover-style model in the mould of the Tesla Model Y. The changes to the ID 2 and Project Trinity come as Schäfer – who headed up Volkswagen’s South African operations before becoming chairman of Skoda prior to being appointed CEO at Volkswagen – instigates a more product-driven business culture at Volkswagen than his predecessor Diess, who was known for his focus on cost-cutting and profitability. 

“It’s a balance but, in the end, it is the product that we are judged upon,” a source told to Autocar. “With the changes taking place, we want to get back to a position of strength with new cars reflecting traditional Volkswagen qualities and with names that will be familiar to long-time customers and other new car buyers alike.” 

Earlier speculation that Volkswagen was preparing to produce the ID 2 in China, at a factory operated with joint-venture partner JAC, has been dismissed by the head of the company’s Chinese operations, Ralf Brandstätter. 

Speaking to Chinese media, he said: “Volkswagen plans to launch the ID 7 saloon in China, as well as a new model below the ID 4… It won’t be the ID 2.”

Why ex-Bentley designer is designing new entry-level VW EV

Newly appointed VW design chief Andreas Mindt has form when it comes to designing innovatively packaged hatchbacks atop the MEB platform.

Before his stint at Bentley, he was chief designer at Audi, where one of his final sign-offs was the future-looking AI:ME concept, a Volkswagen ID 3 equivalent devised primarily for car-sharing services. 

“Urban cars all look like telephone boxes, and we didn’t want a machine like that,” he told Autocar at its unveiling, hinting at an affinity for individuality that is likely to carry through to the ID 2.

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03-20-2023, 02:37 AM
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MINI Electric: how its tech helps you stay connected

MINI Electric front three quarters

The MINI Electric is packed full of advanced technology

We explain how the technology in the MINI Electric helps keep you online and connected to friends and family

With its standout style, dependable range and amped-up all-electric driving character, the MINI Electric is the perfect EV for every occasion.

Add in the cost-saving benefits of home top-ups, zero road tax and urban emission zone exemption, and MINI ownership becomes even more affordable and even more sustainable than ever before. We haven’t even got to the MINI Electric’s complimentary home charger installation* – more on that later. We recently took a closer look at MINI’s latest limited-run model: the MINI Electric Resolute Edition, which combines the best of classic MINI heritage with bang up-to-date, future-facing tech. But we also wanted to take a deeper dive into the wealth of tech available in the broader MINI Electric range – shedding some ambient light on how it works and why it matters. Let’s get started.

Learn more about the MINI Electric Resolute Edition

Giving you a heads-up

With so many distractions on the road – especially in the city – focus is everything. So, in the spirit of safety first, let’s kick things off with one of the MINI Electric’s party pieces: the optional Head-up Display (available on the Level 3 trim and standard on the Resolute Edition).

Push the glowing ‘start’ button, and watch the Head-up Display spring into action – ascending from the dashboard to position itself perfectly within your eye line. From your current speed to navigation prompts, and from warning signals to song selections, this sophisticated yet elegantly simple system helps you keep your eyes on the road at all times.

If at any point, you want a more ‘old-school’ driving experience, the Head-up Display can be retracted at any time, leaving you with the vibrant digital dials on the 5-inch screen above the steering wheel.

Safety first (and foremost)

Staying on theme, the MINI Electric is packed full of smart safety technology as standard. Cruise Control with Braking Function is your motorway assist, taking the wasted energy out of incremental throttle and braking inputs. You can adjust your speed manually via the steering wheel controls and use the limiter (LIM) to set a maximum speed.

Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) is your second set of eyes on every journey – intervening in the event of a pedestrian or other vehicle pulling out in front of you, unexpectedly. Paired with Lane Departure Warning, which ensures you always stay within the lines, the MINI Electric is always on high alert without taking away from the pure driving experience.

Park Assist is your semi-autonomous answer to an everyday hassle: parking. Simply find an appropriate space, put your MINI Electric in reverse and let the ultrasonic parking sensors and rear-facing camera do the hard work for you*.

Find your perfect route

The word ‘connected’ gets banded around a lot these days. But what does it mean in the real world? Well, in the case of the MINI Electric’s Navigation System, it means an immersive, fully customisable map experience. You can keep track of (and avoid) congestion thanks to Real Time Traffic Alerts (RTTI). It also lets you know when public chargers are available in real-time, as well as providing seamless smartphone integration and intelligent voice-activated navigation commands.

For both safety and convenience, the MINI Electric uses Online Speech Processing (including Alexa In-Car preparation) to interpret your voice commands – with little more than “get me home” needed to send you in the right direction. And,mbecause the technology in the MINI Electric never stands still (and nor do you), your navigation system will always be kept bang up to date with automatic over-the-air updates.

Top tier infotainment

The beating heart of the MINI Electric: the ultra-intuitive infotainment system sits front and centre. Echoing classic MINI’s of the 1960s, the circular surround (complete with laser-engraved LED ring) houses your 8.8in touchscreen display. From there, you have access to a full suite of multimedia features including DAB digital radio, eDrive Services, ConnectedDrive Services (more on those later), USB audio, and the aforementioned Navigation Pack.

With wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, as standard you have multiple ways to customise your digital experience while the rotary dial and menu shortcuts provide additional ways to navigate the system.

First class MINI service(s)

Within the MINI Electric’s infotainment system is a suite of intelligent functions designed to make daily life easier and more efficient. It all starts with MINI eDrive Services – your helpful eco tutor, designed to help you drive your MINI Electric even more efficiently. The system continuously calculates your preferred ‘Green Route’ – that’s the most efficient route for each of your journeys, so you can get the most out of every charge. It will even provide regular stats to help you further improve your on-road economy.

Think of MINI ConnectedDrive Services as your personal mobility assistant. MINI Online keeps you and your passengers connected to the world outside the car. When stationary, a few taps of the touchscreen let you find the latest local news and weather information, search any point of interest (down to restaurant ratings and reviews) and find relevant Wikipedia articles related to specific locations on your journey. Travelling abroad? Keep on top of speed limits, mandatory kit and special rules by country using the Country Information app.

The power of the app

MINI Remote Services – as the name suggests – puts the power in your hands before you’ve even jumped behind the wheel. Using the intuitive MINI App on your smartphone, you’ll have access to functions such as locking and unlocking the doors, battery pre-conditioning and cabin temperature adjustment for those colder starts.

You can also track your top-up times, check your MINI Electric’s battery percentage and kWh efficiency, and manage charging times from the comfort of your couch. Want to keep your MINI Electric in tip-top condition? A few taps of the app and you can schedule everything from a scheduled service to an MOT.

Otherworldly colour

Whether you’re on the move or standing still, the standard display colours and mood lighting in the MINI Electric are a spectacle in themselves. Toggle between ‘Lounge’ and ‘Sport’ modes to watch the recess lighting shift from cool blues to warm hues. In conjunction with the optional Ambient Lighting Pack (standard on Level 2, 3 and Resolute Edition), the ‘Colour Worlds’ of the displays can be combined with the interior light control and a plethora of colour combinations to choose from – six for each of the two modes, to be precise.

The sound of silence

360 watts and 12 speakers: the optional Harmon Kardon sound system (standard on Level 3 and Resolute Edition) has been specifically designed for the MINI Electric, with speakers placed optimally throughout the cabin and a high-efficiency amplifier designed specifically for the space inside. Jump into your sound settings on the MINI Electric’s touchscreen for added levels of customisation for those who are audio inclined.

All charged up

While many EV intenders will weight up their on-the-go options, a lot of electric car owners will want the consistency of a home charger, and that, of course, comes at an additional cost – but not with the MINI Electric. MINI is currently offering a complimentary PodPoint home charging installation when you purchase a new MINI Electric*** which means you can focus on accommodation costs on your next road-trip.

Learn more about the MINI Electric Resolute Edition

*You should never rely solely on the Parking Assist function

**The driver remains responsible for acceleration and deceleration

***Offer available with any new MINI Electric purchased before the end of March 2023

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03-19-2023, 08:11 PM
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2023 spring budget: fuel duty cut, £200m to repair potholes

Petrol pump

Fuel duty, currently at 52.95p, has been frozen, the government has announced in its spring budget

Fuel duty cut to save motorists £100 a year, on average, over the next 12 months

The UK government has frozen its 5p fuel duty cut, initially introduced last year, in a decision which has been welcomed by key players in the country’s automotive industry. 

Announced by chancellor Jeremy Hunt as part of his 2023 spring budget, the cut will remain at 5p for an additional twelve months, which Hunt says will save drivers £100 a year, and £200 since the cut was first introduced. 

"As inflation remains high, I have decided now is not the time to up fuel duty in line with inflation, or increase the duty," he told MPs this afternoon.

He added the decision was made after hearing what impact the government's planned 11p duty rise would have had on motorists.

The RAC welcomed the extension of the cut, which would keep duty frozen at 52.95p per litre, saying the decision would support drivers and fight inflation. 

“We welcome the Government’s decision to keep the 5p fuel duty cut in place for another 12 months. The cut has given drivers some much-needed relief in what has been the most torrid year ever at the pumps, with price records being broken even after duty was cut,” said Nicholas Lyes, the RAC’s head of roads policy.

“Given the importance of driving for consumers and businesses, duty should be kept low to help fight inflation.”

The AA concurred, stating the freeze would help millions of drivers. 

“We are pleased the Chancellor has listened to the AA and frozen fuel duty," said Jack Cousens, the AA’s head of roads policy. "Not only will this save drivers ‘heavy-duty’ pain at the pump, but will help keep the price of goods and services down as they are mainly transported by road. Crippling road fuel costs are also a major driver of inflation.”

Hunt also announced an additional £200 million investment which will go towards repairing potholes on UK roads. It increases the total fund to fix potholes up to £700 million. 

The RAC said the funding for potholes was necessary, but added that it would not go far enough to improve the condition of roads across the country. 

“While welcome, another £200m is unlikely to make a big difference to the overall quality of our dilapidated local roads," said Nicholas Lyes, RAC head of roads policy. 

“We need to significantly increase funding for local road maintenance and improvement so councils can resurface roads properly rather than patching them up and hoping for the best.

"Last year the Government spent £1.125bn on local roads in England which is in stark contrast to the £7bn that went into major roads from car tax, despite local roads covering so many more miles.”

The AA, while grateful for the additional funding, raised concerns about when the funds might become available.

"An additional £200m to fix potholes is welcome, but we are concerned that the cash won’t become available until next year. Years of underinvestment in our road network coupled with a cold and wet winter is already unveiling the craters. More money needs to be spent now, as well as significant long-term investment to improve our local roads.”

The government did not announce any support for the UK’s wider motoring industry and production.

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03-19-2023, 07:50 PM
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Ford Bronco to be offered in European markets for the first time

2023 Ford Bronco Badlands front three quarter

The Bronco will be introduced in "strictly limited numbers"

Iconic US off-roader arrives in two trim levels with a raft of all-terrain modifications and references to its heritage

Ford will introduce its Bronco off-roader to European markets for the first time in "strictly limited numbers" and with a tight focus on extreme off-road use. 

Set to be available later this year, the Ford Bronco will be offered in two trim levels: Badlands, which is more suited to extreme off-road driving, and Outer Banks

The Bronco sold in Europe will use the same direct-injected 2.7-litre Ecoboost V6 petrol engine as the US variant, developing 330bhp and 415lb ft. 

Its reserves are managed by Ford's Powershift 10-speed transmission and the car is capable of  travelling at 3mph with the engine speed at 2400rpm, reducing the risk of stalling during serious off-road work.

Each trim level adds unique exterior design details as well as a build number plaque and the option of accessories such as waterproof neoprene seat covers. 

Off-road-ready Badlands gets a locking front differential, a system to disconnect the anti-roll bars and the ability to switch between two- and four-wheel drive modes.

Ford has not commented on pricing for either European Bronco variant yet but has confirmed that it will not be coming to the UK. However, unofficial imports of the Bronco can be obtained from London-based specialist dealer Clive Sutton for £45,000 to £85,000, depending on the specification level.

The Bronco returned to sale in the US in 2021 after the moniker had laid dormant for 25 years. It’s a popular model in its home country, with the firm selling 117,057 examples in the US last year. 

It’s built on a box steel chassis, with seven cross-members for added rigidity and suspension travel of up to 259mm. 

Ford's Terrain Management System is included as standard and has been optimised so that novice off-road drivers can still access the car's full potential. 

Driving modes include Normal, Eco, Sport and Slippery, but a 'Go Across Any Type of Terrain' (GOAT) mode has also been introduced to allow the car to traverse mud/ruts, sand and rocky outcrops. Each mode adjusts the response of the throttle, gearbox and steering.

The car also uses Ford's Trail Turn Assist, which reduces the turning radius by up to 40%, braking the inside wheel during off-roading in tight spaces.

Additionally, trail sights sit on the front wings. These are raised sections of bodywork that indicate the car's position relative to its terrain. They support 68kg and can be used to transport surfboards or canoes.

The Bronco’s exterior design takes inspiration from the first-generation model, introduced in 1966, with short overhangs, a full-width grille, circular headlights and squared-off body panels.

In keeping with its approach to versatility, several aspects of the car are removable. 

The doors can be taken off and have been made lightweight as a result of the car's frameless windows. They also feature integrated mounting points for accessories such as tents or camping gear.

The front grille and bumper can also be swapped for alternative versions and the plastic wheel-arch flares are designed to separate without damage during a collision. The Bronco's hard-top, which uses a sound-dampening headliner, can also be removed. 

Elsewhere, the interior promises to be robust and has references to the original 1966 car, specifically in the instrument panel. It uses Ford's latest Sync 4 infotainment system, which means an 8.0in TFT instrument cluster sits alongside a 12.0in centre screen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity. A 360deg camera system features as standard.

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03-19-2023, 05:50 PM
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Citroen brings back petrol and diesel Berlingo MPV due to demand

1 citroen berlingo 2018 rt hero front

Berlingo was removed from sale in 2020 following the arrival of the electric ë-Berlingo...

Combustion-engined five-seat van returns after its removal from sale in 2020, priced at £25,465

The Citroën Berlingo MPV is back on sale in the UK in petrol and diesel guises, with the French firm citing high demand as the reason for its return.

Available to order now, with production set to start in May, the Berlingo is priced from £25,465 as a diesel, while petrols command a slight premium, at £25,590. 

The Berlingo was removed from sale in 2020, following the arrival of the electric Citroën ë-Berlingo. Citroën said the continued popularity of petrol and diesel was enough to warrant a return for ICE versions of the MPV. 

“While [the] ë-Berlingo Electric has enjoyed considerable success since its launch, customer demand for petrol and diesel variants has persisted,” said Citroën

“With Citroën’s commitment to offering accessible and affordable mobility to all, the brand is now delighted to reintroduce the powertrains to the model range, giving fleets and private buyers a wider choice of vehicles.”

The engines are a 108bhp 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol, a 98bhp 1.5-litre four-cylinder diesel (both with a six-speed manual gearbox) and a 128bhp 1.5-litre four-cylinder diesel (with an eight-speed automatic). 

Two specification levels – Feel and Flair XTR – will be available, exclusively in the M bodystyle, which measures 4.4 metres long and 1.9 metres high, with space for five adults. 

Standard equipment includes an 8.0in infotainment touchscreen, a DAB radio, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, automatic headlights and rear parking sensors.

All versions gain a suite of safety equipment including cruise control, speed-limit recognition, lane-keeping assistance and active safety braking. 

The Flair XTR model is equipped with 17in wheels, gloss-black exterior design elements and orange foglight surrounds. 

The ë-Berlingo continues to be sold here, priced from £32,315, with a 134bhp motor and a 50kWh battery for 174 miles of range. It still offers the larger XL bodystyle with a third row of seats.

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